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3.68  ·  Rating details ·  539 ratings  ·  172 reviews
On the eve of Evangeline’s wedding, a dead whale is trapped in theharbor of Winter Island, the groom may be lost at sea, and Evie’smostly absent mother has shown up out of the blue. From there,in this mesmerizing, provocative debut, Evie remembers and reckons with her complicated upbringing in this lush, wild land off the coast of SouthernCalifornia.

Evie grew up with her
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published January 7th 2020 by Algonquin Books
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Average rating 3.68  · 
Rating details
 ·  539 ratings  ·  172 reviews

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Julie Ehlers
Jan 11, 2020 marked it as tossed-aside
Shelves: galleys
You know what, I'm bailing on this one. Creatures is like a mash-up of Mostly Dead Things and Costalegre, neither of which I was a particular fan of. Of course, all three of these novels came out recently, so any similarities among them are no one's fault. But what is this book's fault (or its author's, editor's, publisher's) is that Creatures is dull and dreary, pivoting quickly from its interesting premise into seemingly endless, tedious backstory. Even the author blurbs on the cover can't ...more
Suzanne Leopold (Suzy Approved Book Reviews)
Evie is worried about her fiance who is late returning from his trip at sea. Liam is employed as a fisherman and spends weeks at a time outside of port. While Evie waits for her upcoming wedding day she reflects back on her dysfunctional childhood and her trust issues with long term relationships. Her parents were both negligent and Evie was forced to raise herself while building an emotional wall to keep out the pain.

Evie’s mother left her family while she was a young child. Her visits were
Oct 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novels, giveaways
My guess is this will either really resonate with people...or really not. (And if it doesn't resonate, you're lucky. I'm the child of two narcissists--my mother and the narrator's mother could be sisters--I know very, very well what it's like to have desperately needy parents and what it's like to choke down a scream because it's amazingly hard to be the mature one at, say, 10.)

Usually novels that deal with relationships like this leave me ugly crying or unable to finish; a childhood like the
Aug 21, 2019 rated it it was ok
I received this book through a Goodreads giveaway.

I'm sorry to give this book such a low rating, but Crissy Van Meter's Creatures just didn't hold me. While I wanted to find literary merit in the way the story was told, I had a difficult time justifying some of the authorial and editorial decisions that were made undoubtedly to push this work more towards the abstract. To me, this story doesn't need to be abstract in order to be "literary." The artfully crafted prose, married with the way the
The Nerd Daily
Jan 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Seven Jane

Dream-like and lyrical, Creatures by debut author Crissy Van Meter is a story that ebbs and flows like the tide—delicate, inevitable, and mesmerising.

On the eve of Evie’s wedding, a storm has washed a dead whale into the harbour of Winter Island, a fictional and feral island off the Southern Californian coast. While her fiancé may be lost at sea, the storm has brought home Evie’s long-wandering mother. This pivotal moment serves as the
Janelle | She Reads with Cats
Thank you so much Algonquin for my free copy.

Crissy Van Meter’s CREATURES is the Belletrist selection for January and I could not be more excited. When I saw the cover I was mesmerized and when I started reading I was captivated. And when I saw that Melissa Broder and Leni Zumas put their stamp of approval on this ravishing debut, I had no doubt I would love it.

Evangeline or “Evie” grew up on an island off the coast of Southern California. Her mom left her early on and seldom returned so her
Maria Zuppardi
Dec 23, 2019 rated it liked it
Thank you to Thomas Allen & Sons for the review copy!

I think literary fiction is either a hit or miss for many people, and for me, this was kind of a miss. I wasn't exactly enchanted by the story, or its characters, which is too bad because I really wanted to like this!
Dec 25, 2019 rated it it was ok
Thanks to Algonquin and Netgalley for the arc in exchange for an honest review.

I really enjoyed the story at first and found the writing to be beautiful. The cover is stunning. The story follows a young woman, Evangeline, who grew upon an island not far from Los Angeles. Her mother left her and her father when she was a kid and she was raised by an alcoholic dad. She does research on the sea and the creatures in it which is infused in the story. She is about to get married. That is about the
Jul 01, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Got an advanced readers copy of this book at a library conference. It’s beautifully written style-wise but leaves a lot to be desired in terms of character development. It’s not really a plot-driven novel, so without the strong character work, it just kind of lags. The lyricism is beautiful, though, and the way the author ties in the whales and the weather. And the cover is absolutely gorgeous. But just an okay book overall.
Matthew Noe
Sep 06, 2019 rated it did not like it
I just wanted it to end. So I ended it by refusing to finish it.

(Advanced copy picked up at ALA 19)
Sep 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaways
I won this in a Goodreads giveaway. It’s a very interesting... kinda weird book!
Jan 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
So pretty, evocative, alive. Just the sort of book I love and want to read/reread. Beauty on a sentence level, raw emotion and clicked-on senses, immersive. This book feels like being afloat and letting the ocean take you (and take you) while telling you its story in storms and sun. I loved and loved it. A lot.
Jan 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: i-own
I will admit that this was a total cover pick for me. I requested an early copy of this book since I thought that the cover looked fun and probably had a good under the sea adventure in it. Boy, was I wrong.

This story is set on Winter Island and follows the main character Evie who grows up with an alcoholic/drug addicted father. Evie's mother takes off when she is just a small child and frequently pops in and out of Evie's life over the years. The story follows Evie from a young child in to
Karen M
Sep 22, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads, own, fiction
The descriptions in this book are lovely but that’s the descriptions of the surroundings. There was no in depth character descriptions that I could wrap my mind around.

Other than the main character having had long dark hair the only other thing I knew about her was an overwhelming sense of inadequacy. She wasn’t as beautiful as her Mother or as adventurous as her best friend. She definitely wasn’t as crazy as her Father. I do know she loved and was betrayed by them all and this book is filled
Nicole Aquilina
Dec 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
{ @algonquinbooks #partner }

Creatures by @crissyvanmeter is unlike any book I have read before. The writing is raw and in your face. Nothing is sugar coated or sweetened to soften the blow. At 256 pages, it’s a quick read that packs a big punch. It’s weird though. Like really weird, but in a good thought provoking way.

Evie spends her life waiting for the other shoe to drop. This is a story of her heart-wrenching life growing up with an alcoholic, drug addicted father and a mother who abandons
Vicki Parsons
Aug 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
A beautiful and sort of brutal little book. The author plays with form just enough to keep it interesting, but not enough to disturb the narrative flow or the impact of her lovely writing. The story explores family dynamics, love, longing, friendship, betrayal and forgiveness, in a non-sentimental, but still really moving manner. The ties between human nature and the natural world are explored in interesting and thoughtful ways.

I picked up this ARC because of the astonishingly lovely cover, but
Jan 27, 2020 rated it liked it
I’m giving one of January 2020’s buzziest books only 3 stars because even at only 240 pages, it was too long. Oh the sadness. Oh the longing. Oh the abandonment issues and the alcoholism and its attendant dysfunction. I get it. The prose is fine. She can write. I enjoyed some of the ocean stuff. And the metaphors. Yes, I get it. Please stop beating me over the head with it now. I was ready for this book to be over around page 180. But I powered through to the end and you know what? I found out ...more
Seven Jane
Dec 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Dream-like and lyrical, Creatures by debut author Crissy Van Meter is a story that ebbs and flows like the tide—delicate, inevitable, and mesmerizing.

On the eve of Evie’s wedding, a storm has washed a dead whale into the harbor of Winter Island, a fictional and feral island off the Southern Californian coast. While her fiancé may be lost at sea, the storm has brought home Evie’s long-wandering mother. This pivotal moment serves as the starting point for a story that weaves through past, present,
Laura Hoffman Brauman
I'm somewhat unsure of how to rate this -- if I was just rating on the quality of the writing alone, this would be five stars. Van Meter has an exquisite way with words and reading this was a very sensory experience. From a plot perspective, though, there really wasn't one. It's more of an extended character study - done very well, but it mostly just explores who she is and why.
Nov 03, 2019 rated it liked it
thoughts coming shortly
Jan 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book proves to me that I don’t have to be drawn to any of the characters to love a piece of work. The writing is so raw and just so....human. I wish I would have highlighted the sentences that struck me. Will definitely be rereading at some point.
Amy (TheSouthernGirlReads)
This book is not a good fit for me at this time...I am putting it down.

Lots of family drama...but I'm not sure I want a lot of family drama right now. Parents not acting like parents. Children forced to act like parents....eeeep. No, just no.

Jan 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
A very interesting and intriguing book! Learned some things along the way, too!
Jan 25, 2020 marked it as to-read
Shelves: library-book, ebook
Under consideration, though I'm concerned about how it might impact me.
Lacey Garcia (cozybooknook)
Jan 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thank you @algonquinbooks and @crissyvanmeter for gifting me a copy of this book. The book is out 1/7.

Creatures is about Evie’s rough upbringing. It starts out a few days before her wedding day. It’s all told from Evie’s viewpoint and has a moving timeline. It looks back into her past and jumps ahead to her future. The story here is how she survived her childhood and how it has affected her as an adult.

Evie grew up with her father on an island not far from the California coast. He never had a
Oct 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: literary-fiction
This is the exact kind of heart-wrenching coming-of-age story that I love. How does a person deal with the brokenness of family? With flawed and dysfunctional parents? With loss and grief and growing up way too soon?
How does a person forgive a lifetime of wrongs, and reconcile herself to continue to love? Within the pages of Creatures, all of these things happen with the help of gorgeous island imagery, and lessons learned from the depths of the ocean and all of her living things.
This book is
Oct 16, 2019 rated it it was ok
Torn between 1 and 2 stars but going with two. I won't say I didn't like it at all but book had no discernable structure in spite of having a chapter listing. Heroine's father was alive, dead then alive again. Getting married, married, getting ready to be married again. Yes, our heroine had absent and neglectful parents. Boohoo. That was the recurring theme. Beautiful cover which hooked me to read but contents did not deliver to the beauty of the cover.
Maggie Rotter
Sep 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Creatures by Crissy Van Meter arrrives at a hopeful place after a complicated, emotionally wrenching journey. Each character is well drawn and flawed - some much more than others. Interactions cover several time periods and add layers of understanding right up to the end.
Jan 24, 2020 rated it liked it
3.5 stars.

My 7th grade social studies teacher was a dude named Ray Pisani. He was an imposing figure if you didn’t have him as an instructor; for those of us fortunate enough to have had him, you realized it was all a front. In retrospect I recognize and appreciate his approach, and can only imagine how challenging it must’ve been trying to teach a bunch of hormone-driven adolescents on the cusp of puberty.

All that aside my greatest takeaway from Mr. Pisani’s class was a quote that adorned his
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